Steffen Nowak, Maker of fine Violins, Violas and Cellos in baroque and modern style


Viola after Giovanni Battista Grancino 16.25 '' (413mm) SOLD

A  new Viola design, freely adapted and inspired by instruments of the Grancino family.

Early instruments by the Grancino family, Milan,  (1650 - ca. 1750)  bear some close similarities to the Amatis, not always as superbly finished but  holding their own for their design, flair and sound. The large and prolific Testore family, initially co-workers/followers of the Grancinos, pushed the boundaries of violinmaking even further, with both spontaneous working methods as well as a hurried and uncompromising finish, no doubt due to increased commercial pressure and lesser remuneration for their work.

The outline for this design is slightly modified from an original to arrive at a body length of 413mm with a string length of 378mm.
Its choice of wood reflects the classical instruments of this period.
A strongly figured 2 pc. English sycamore back (rather then the plainer Grancino/Testore backs of the later period), complimented by matching ribs, and a belly of strongly pronounced grain structure (quite in keeping with many originals).
This tonewood is 15 and 20 years old respectively and is increasingly hard to source.

The varnish here is maybe one of the most exciting finishes in recent years - not exactly antiqued but not quite 'as new' applied either.
The challenge is to create both a warm and natural looking finish without standing out as brand new, but not falling back on having to deliberately 'scratch and damage' the varnish in order to fool the casual observer. A subtle application technique, light shading of some expected worn areas, a thin, transparent and highly coloured varnish accentuating rather then covering up the natural textures in the wood surface, together with some light patination make for a very special looking instrument.

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(any questions ? please enquire)

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